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The Power of Making: V&A Museum, London Answered

"Making is the most powerful way that we solve problems, express ideas and shape our world. What and how we make defines who we are, and communicates who we want to be... Many people think that craft is a matter of executing a preconceived form or idea, something that already exists in the mind or on paper. Yet making is also an active way of thinking, something which can be carried out with no particular goal in mind. In fact, this is a situation where innovation is very likely to occur.

Even when making is experimental and open-ended, it observes rules. Craft always involves parameters, imposed by materials, tools, scale and the physical body of the maker. Sometimes in making, things go wrong. An unskilled maker, hitting the limits of their ability, might just stop. An expert, though, will find a way through the problem, constantly unfolding new possibilities within the process."

I just found out about an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; The Power of Making.

The V&A and Crafts Council celebrate the role of making in our lives by presenting an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects, ranging from a life-size crochet bear to a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute to dry stone walling. Power of Making is a cabinet of curiosities showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world to present a snapshot of making in our time.

The exhibition showcases works made using a diverse range of skills and explores how materials can be used in imaginative and spectacular ways, whether for medical innovation, entertainment, social networking or artistic endeavour.

Making is the most powerful way that we solve problems, express ideas and shape our world. What and how we make defines who we are, and communicates who we want to be.

For many people, making is critical for survival. For others, it is a chosen vocation: a way of thinking, inventing and innovating. And for some it is simply a delight to be able to shape a material and say ‘I made that’. The power of making is that it fulfills each of these human needs and desires.

Those whose craft and ingenuity reach the very highest levels can create amazing things. But making is something everyone can do. The knowledge of how to make – both everyday objects and highly-skilled creations – is one of humanity’s most precious resources.

Items on show include a life-sized crocheted bear, an electric guitar worn on a high heel, extreme cake decorating, and our old friend the Makerbot.

The show also includes a Tinkerspace - meet designers, and see Making in action



8 years ago

Related- I went to a Google-sponsored talk at the V&A (part of Digital Design week, which my other half is blogging about) on the future of DIY that had a few nice take-home points, and included playing with play dough and a talk from the inventors of Sugru.

The general thrust of the talk was that "DIY" used to mean getting a kit and following instructions- little more than "assemble it yourself"- but now it can mean the entire process from design to realisation.  Personal computing means the average person has fewer barriers to making a film or recording an album than to building a chair, and they see the rise of devices like 3D printers as going some way towards rectifying this.

Another fascinating point was the fact that the business fo Sugru was done with a similarly DIY style- it turned out that for the cost of hiring a contract laboratory to do a handful of chemistry experiments, the founders could kit out their own laboratory and work out the formulation of Sugru themslves.  My favourite quotable quote from the talk- "It's not rocket science, it's just industrial chemistry" :)

Technology Will Save Us were there too, getting the audience building squidgy circuits out of electrically conductive play dough.  Apparently the recipe is online somewhere- sounds like there's an Instructable in that!


8 years ago

The fact the suit is in the (C) Art Museum makes me reason Hawking's did not
or was unable to use the prosthetic.



Reply 8 years ago

I think that's more an "art piece".


Reply 8 years ago

Yes, it is pleasing to view.


Reply 8 years ago

I can just see it now......he'd be complaining about TERMITES in a few months LOL


Reply 8 years ago

According to the website, the suit is, despite appearances, made of steel.


Reply 8 years ago

"ha ha, look at the guy in the wheelchair!"
"You should see my other wheelchair." *hops in prosethetic suit*